Dream Alive At The Dragonfly, Wednesday July 29th 2014, Reviewed
The members of Dream Alive want to live the dream, the complete rock dream and they are reaching the Parama Brahman to get there… I am just saying this because some of them are from Indian origin and lead guitarist Karan Parikh’s parents had even came from India to attend the release party of their debut album (entitled ‘Before the Dawn’) at the Dragonfly on Tuesday night. But I will stop there with any reference to India, because the music was pure Sunset Strip dream.
Six on stage, with 3 keyboards and two guitars, they gave us a grandiose opening, and continued with the same exuberant energy till the end, attempting to take everybody’s breath away during each song. If each member of the band were actively participating into this over-the top celebration, the charismatic showman-frontman Nik Phoeniks worked very hard to push the show to a new level. Behind his large keyboard, he was haranguing the crowd at any occasion, finger-pointing the crowd or rising his arm in the air every minute, transforming the end of each song to a grand finale with the help of guitarists Ramon Ryder and Karan Parikh, drummer Stanley Love and bassist Martin Fredriksson – they actually had a sixth member, a girl behind another keyboard in the back of the stage, whom I could not see very well.
These guys have obviously been raised on a high dose of high-energy melodic 80-90s pop rock as the music sounded right away familiar, bringing back something of these eras, and the first songs they played could have turned Bon Jovi blue of envy,… may be they should have composed the music for this Rock of Ages movie, and I am not only saying this because Phoeniks had this Tom Cruise ladykiller smile! Song after song, it was power pop escalation, as they were getting a bit less rock and more and more poppy as they were progressing into the album, that they were playing in its entirety. ‘Before the Dawn’ could be an attempt to give a modern twist on big compositions full of layered pop rock melodies and soaring vocal harmonies, spiced up by textured guitar solos. The songs, which often started with a quiet beginning before reaching rock-tempest levels, had such an optimistic tone, that nobody in the room stayed indifferent to their rock choruses.
Founders Nik Phoeniks and Ramon Ryder have met at the Rainbow Bar and Grill on the Sunset strip, which is totally appropriate for the music they play, and they have mentioned Pink Floyd, Muse, Journey as common influences… all night long they were running after rock band legends and judging at the girls’ screams, I would say they managed to impressed everyone, while giving an epic and mood uplifting performance.
‘We spent innumerable nights in the studio creating and experimenting with tones. Our aim was to discover new sounds that would do justice to the material, while giving audiences something they haven’t heard before,’ explained Karan in an interview….’The album’s theme is that of overcoming obstacles. We all have fears and insecurities to battle, but if we rise above, we can be triumphant,’ added Ramon. It is true that you can’t miss the album’s theme with titles like ‘Don’t Say No’, ‘Waiting so Long’, ‘Forever Young’, ‘We All Move On’…
If Journey’s Steve Perry showing up at a Eels’ concert to transform a morose Mark Everett’s tune into a rock anthem at everyone’s greatest pleasure is any sign of the time, these Dream Alive guys can certainly bring back the big rocking dream to life.